Cold Calls Can Work

Posted on January 20, 2009

Liliane Windsor (bio) describes how she found and began working with her mentor.


The way that I ended up getting from Texas to New York was because I needed a mentor and I'm interested in the federal track funding type of career. And in order to have that as a junior scientist, you really need to find a mentor that has a long research track of funded research through NIH, but not only that, you need to find somebody that you work well with. And you need to find somebody that has the same interests that you do.

So I went to the NIH website, looked up who are the people who were doing things in the same area that I was. And I was already familiar with the work of Eloise Dunlap at the National Development Research Institutes in New York, and that's really what I wanted to do in terms of my research.

So I decided to go ahead, pick up the phone, give her a call and say, "Hi, this is who I am. This is what I'm doing. I love your work. Is there any possibility of me getting some training from you?" and, at that point, I was just looking for training. So she asked me to send her my vita, which I did, and then she got back to me. And she told me that I should come to New York and visit with her in person. So I went up to New York, we did an interview. It really matched. It seemed to be like a very good fit.

So we put together a minority supplement, and it got funded. So that ended up funding me to come to New York and do my dissertation there, and I needed to do that because the data was in New York. So I finished doing all my coursework in Austin, and from there, I came to New York. And I did all of my dissertation here. My chair was still in Texas, so it was a lot juggling with everybody to try to make it work. But it worked out.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Conference in Bethesda, MD.

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